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New dress code at Pentagon -- more business, less war?

January 19, 2010 |  9:06 am

Army Chief of Staff George Casey at a swearing in ceremony in 2008.

It could be the least weighty -- but most interesting -- reversal of former Defense Secretary Donald H.  Rumsfeld's policies.

On Monday, very quietly, Pentagon chief Robert M. Gates asked his top military officers to stop wearing their battle fatigues to the office -- as ordered by Rumsfeld in the harrowing days after 9/11.

Now, in their business uniforms bedecked with medals, the Pentagon's top brass look more ready for business than war.

Already, some critics see the change -- which went into effect at the first of the year -- as part of the Obama administration's more nuanced approach to security, a step back from the torture tactics and war footing that was part of the Bush administration's war on terror.

But Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the change is meant only to reflect that "this building is the headquarters of the United States military in our nation’s capital city.”

“I don’t think the secretary believes that how they dress connotes whether they are on a war footing within this building,” he said. “Far more than one’s attire is how one behaves and the urgency with which one goes about doing the job in support of our war fighters.”

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo credit: Getty Images

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